As much as I hate to admit it, my favorite part of going out with friends is that greasy 3 a.m. meal used to signify the end of the night.
New York City is the city that never sleeps, but there is no better way satisfy the drunchies or just to fight off the brisk, chilly NYC night than with a good meal that puts us into a food coma.
Here are my top choices of 24-hour restaurants that my friends and I probably single-handedly keep in business:
95 Allen St, New York, NY 10002 AND 765 9th Ave, New York City, NY 10019
Photo credit: Facebook
If you are in a mood for some authentic, deliciously well-made Colombian food, Empanada Mama is your go to. With two locations in Manhattan, you can get your fix of Latin American food no matter where you’re coming from.
There are over 40 kinds of empanadas to choose from, a variety of small tapas, soups, arepas, and desserts, so even if you are out with a large group, your friends, whether they are vegan, gluten-free, or just picky, are all guaranteed to find something that suits their tastes.
In addition to being open 24 hours, they also deliver to the nearby area. If you and your friends all decide to crash and watch some chick flicks, but do not want that cold, soggy leftover pizza in the fridge, Empanada Mama is here to rescue you.
My go-to order here is a vanilla milkshake with a cheese-corn empanada and a side of plantain chips. My best friend always orders the Elvis, which is a peanut butter and banana-stuffed empanada, and flan.
17 Mott St, New York, NY 10013
Forget about those leftover lo-mein noodles in your fridge. If you want hot, sizzling, fresh off the Chinese wok food at any time, go to Wo Hop.
Their prices are low – good, especially after a night out where you might have splurged too much – and their portions are sizeable, so it is perfect for sharing or eating the next day when you get up at 2 p.m.
There is a reason why they are still opened and hugely popular, with lines around the block even at 3 a.m., after 79 years and with so many other Chinese food places nearby.
The menu is your classic American Chinese food, but the food, especially the sauces, are perfectly seasoned. Tip: this location in the basement of their more “touristy” street level area, which is 15 Mott St. When you arrive, head straight downstairs to 17 Mott St.
7th Ave Donuts and Diner
324 7th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215
If you are craving some breakfast, look no further than 7th Ave Donuts and Diner, which has been opened and serving late-night food since 1977.
This place not only has 24-hour breakfast, but they also have fresh donuts. My favorite order here is a classic Western Omelet, which comes with home fries, buttered toast, and spreads.
Even after a long night out, I have yet to finish off their massive platters. Besides traditional breakfast dishes like pancakes, French toast, omelets, egg sandwiches, and muffins and bagels, they also serve wraps, paninis, pasta, and salads.
So if you want some breakfast for dinner, but your friend wants some penne vodka, this is your place to be. Seating is limited in this cozy diner, but they do deliver 24 hours to nearby areas!
The Famous Cozy Soup ‘n’ Burger
739 Broadway, New York, NY 10003
During the chilly dark winter nights, after the warmth from the alcohol and the adrenaline has worn off, there is nothing better than a warm cup of soup and a big, juicy burger.
When I say big, I mean big. These burgers are guaranteed to stick to your bones and keep you warm with enough energy to last the commute home. I always go for a cheeseburger, while my friend opts for their pizza burger, which is exactly what it sounds like.
We both share a peanut butter milkshake, and their homemade beer battered onion rings as we try to eat our burgers as neatly as possible. In addition to burgers and soups, they have wraps, classic breakfast options, pasta, ice cream, and more, but at this place, you must get a burger before you try anything else.
They also have low-calorie options, so if you had one too many cocktails or margaritas, you will not feel too bad about this 3 a.m. meal and probably skipping the gym the next day to sleep in.
There are tons of 24-hour places in New York City, but only a few can put out excellent service all day, year-round, for decades. It has taken me years of trial and error to find the best late-night restaurants in the city. I hope this helps you narrow down some choices!